On Campus

UVic student union gives in to pro-life club

Youth Protecting Youth to be reimbursed for withheld funding going back two years

A lawsuit launched by a University of Victoria pro-life club against the student society has been settled out of court. Youth Protecting Youth (YPY) has had its status as a student group fully restored, and the University of Victoria Students’ Society (UVSS) has agreed to reimburse the group for the funding that has been withheld for two years.

The spat began in October 2008 when the UVSS refused to give YPY the same meagre funding all UVic student clubs receive. Clubs approved by a committee are entitled to $232 each year and such perks as banner supplies and free room bookings. Upon review in 2009, the committee approved YPY. But the students’ society board stepped in and once again revoked the funding. In a meeting, last fall the society’s directors accused YPY of “harassing” female students (although they mentioned no specifics). Although its funding had been withdrawn, it wasn’t until February of this year, that YPY had its status as an official student group revoked.

In May, YPY filed a petition with B.C. Supreme Court seeking restitution for denied funding, reinstatement as a student group, and a removal of policies that defined pro-life advocacy as harassment. In June, the group noted on its website that the student society had agreed to most of its terms, but that YPY was seeking assurances that its status as a legitimate student group, entitled to the funding guaranteed to all other campus clubs would not be threatened again. Towards this end, the UVSS has agreed to allow the lawsuit to stand in abeyance, meaning it can be reactivated at any point in the future if the pro-life club again comes under threat.

YPY received legal counseling and representation from the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association.

With files from Erin Millar